A Fear of Whales

A Fear of Whales


Han Shot First (A Meditation on Relativism, And Why It’s Dumb)

posted by rgaffney

Han Shot FIRSTI will not be the first Christian to write a blog that 6 people ever will read refuting relativism. I won’t be the last. I’m not the smartest, and despite my ambition for uniqueness, my article will not break any new barriers in the field of epistemology. It is, according to all formal logical tests, inferior to standing refutations of relativism that already exist. But maybe, possibly, it just might, be a little bit more fun. And hopefully more in keeping with a postmodern relativistic mindset.

Let’s Define Terms:
Relativism: The belief that everything is relative, nothing is absolute, and if you think something is true it’s true for you.
Moral Relativism: The belief that morality is subjective, but other things could be objective (like science, maybe)
Objectivism: The alternative to relativism. The belief that absolute truth exists whether or not we know it.
Modernism: A philosophical system of beliefs and practices characterized by enlightenment ideas esp. the search for truth through logic and reason
Postmodernism: A new set of loosely connected beliefs mostly characterized by a disappointment in modernism for failing to make good on what it promised

All of these terms are a bit wibbily wobbily. But for the sake of discussion, let’s suppose that these simple definitions are the end of it.

You can see how modernism goes hand in hand with objectivism. Postmodernism opposed modernism and it’s ilk and so tends to gravitate towards relativism, which drives modernists crazy as they are convinced it will lead straight to the denial of all sorts  of important things.

Considering this, it is typical for a objectivist to ask an obvious question such as “do you exist” or “are circles circular” about which virtually everyone agrees, and try tog et the relativist to admit that this is absolutely true not just true to them. It’s no fair and not any fun.

So instead I ask this question. in the movie Star Wars when Greedo attempted to capture Han Solo resulting in shots fired at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Who shot first? Was it Han or Greedo?

The answer depends. In the original theatrical release, Han shot first. But in the Special Edition and subsequent versions, Greedo shot first, and CG was used to make Han awkwardly “head dodge” and then fire back. Thus characterizing him as less a ruthless scoundrel, and more of a loveable friend for a young audience.

The relativist has some ground here. The answer you give will depend on when you were born, what version you saw first and what is and is not “cannon” in your personal opinion

The objectivist is on more shaky ground. It’s worth noting that an objectivist need not be an objectivist about everything, anyone who believes in any absolute truth is an objectivist. But if he is to be a MosEislian Objectivist he has an obligation now to find some absolute authority on which version is correct.

Often a dispute about a text will be settled by “authorial intent” but since the author of both versions is the same man (George Lucas) it does little to help us. We must determine whether 70s or 90s Lucas is the real authoritative Lucas.

…Or do we.

I mean must we be so modernist about this whole thing?

I for one believe Han shot first because it is right and good and true for Han to shoot first. It makes him cooler, it makes his character arc more profound, and it furnishes in us the appropriate doubt at the climax about whether or not he will do the right thing.

The Firstitude of Han’s shot outranks Lucas, it transcends authorial intent. Before Star Wars was even filmed, Han was shooting first. Because it is an objective moral reality that he should.



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